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What’s Up with the New Microsoft Surface Tablet?

By on June 19, 2012
microsoft-tablet

In a move obviously to take on the iPad, Microsoft presented its Surface Tablet. 

Microsoft said the smallest Surface tablet is 9.3 millimeters thick and weighs 1.5 pounds, which is similar to Apple’s iPad, at 9.4 millimeters thick and 1.44 pounds. The Surface has a 10.6-inch screen compared with the iPad’s 9.7-inch screen. The new device, unveiled by Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer this week is an indication the software behemoth has been forced to embrace a changing marketplace, especially given its lackluster edge in the mobile market.

The Surface is cool, sleek, and a must-have for many gadget-geeks. It has a built-in kickstand and magnetic cover, which also acts as a touch keyboard. It’s unclear if the device would connect to cellular data networks or would be Wi-Fi only. Reportedly, Surface will “be priced like comparable tablets,” Windows Chief Steve Sinofsky said. Microsoft will sell the tablets itself at Microsoft’s handful of retail stores and through some online channels. The first Surface models will arrive when Windows 8 is generally available, which is expected to be in the second half of the year.

Surface for Windows 8 Pro tablet

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 (Ivy Bridge)
  • Weight: 903 grams
  • Thickness: 13.5 millimeters
  • Display: 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD (1080p) capactive touchpanel
  • Battery: 42Wh
  • I/O: microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, 2×2 MIMO antennae
  • Software: Windows 8 Pro
  • Accessories: Touch Cover, Type Cover, VaporMg Case & Stand, Pen with Palm Block
  • Capacity: 64GB / 128GB
  • Availability: “Three months after” the Windows 8 launch this fall
  • Pricing: To be determined

Surface for Windows RT tablet

  • Processor: NVIDIA Tegra-based ARM chip
  • Weight: 676 grams
  • Thickness: 9.3 millimeters
  • Display: 10.6-inch ClearType HD capactive touchpanel
  • Battery: 31.5Wh
  • I/O: microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
  • Software: Windows RT + Office Home & Student 2013 RT
  • Accessories: Touch Cover, Type Cover, VaporMg Case & Stand
  • Capacity: 32GB / 64GB
  • Availability: “Around” the Windows 8 launch (fall 2012)
  • Pricing: To be determined

The computer makers’ business is dependent on Microsoft, so they may not express annoyance publicly at Microsoft’s trading on the hardware makers’ turf. But at least some hardware executives are fuming privately at Microsoft’s decision. In the tech world, many see Microsoft’s move to make its own tablet as a risk. Sarah Epps, an industry analyst says “it comes with consequences, which is complicating choices for consumers and complicating relations with third-party manufacturers.”

Microsoft showed off the two versions of the Surface. The versions running Windows 8 will run chips from Intel Corp., which supplies chips used in most PCs. The versions running Windows RT will be powered by chips from Nvidia Corp. based on designs from ARM Holdings PLC, a variety of chips widely used in cellphones and tablets.

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